Chapter 35: Barrage

“Boom!”

Missiles exploded in the sky above several buildings across the district. There were whole clouds of dust, the explosion causing huge cracks to form on the ceiling of the ground floor. People tended to think nonsense when fear crept into their minds. The crowd looked like rats hiding in their holes cowardly. They kept shaking, feeling insecure and hopeless. The chaos also had some of the women and kids crying. No one could predict their future. Perhaps the next missile would drop right on their building and crush everyone inside it.

Wang Shishi was hiding in Luo Yuan’s arms, shaking uncontrollably. Luo Yuan patted her head and sighed. He was also waiting for the call of destiny. He would much rather fight with weapons than wait in fear for an unknown future. At least if he died during a fight, he would know why he died. No one spoke, they just watched out from the grill with their eyes open wide. Perhaps that was the only thing they could do to calm themselves down.

Time flew. A few missiles exploded in the sky near their building, causing the crowd to scream. Donghu City was the second largest city in the Jiangnan Province. Even if it wasn’t the number one city in priority for homeland security, it had to at least be the second one on the list. There were several bomb shelters around the city, but unfortunately they had failed to play any role during the battle. The bombing had been an emergency plan and most of the citizens had not been prepared for it. This battle was different than the one between humans and other mutated animals. The beetles had the air advantage and they were attacking the city center, which had not allowed the government to send out a war warning. The battle was still going on at noon.

There were at least a hundred thousand beetles in Donghu City and it was not easy to kill all of them. There were countless missiles and grenades exploding in the sky, filling the air with a choking, burning smell. The sound of the explosions was fading as the evening sky turned darker. Everyone on the ground floor was extremely hungry, and their clothes were full of dust and pieces of cement that had dropped from the ceiling. They looked like construction workers coming home from a worksite. They waited for a while, then went back to their respective units after confirming that this was it for the day. Luo Yuan felt relieved, but his body was stiff and his face was covered in mortar. He looked like a freshly made statue.

There were about ten green beetles flying in the sky above, which was relatively less than what they had seen during the daytime. Luo Yuan would not be so worried if he did not realize that there were more big animals wandering in the sky than just the beetles. Other animals could fly at a very high speed too. Unfortunately, it was difficult to see clearly what kind of animals they were because the sky was too dark. Luo Yuan could guess what they were though, because he had killed one of them before.

There were a few more explosions farther away, but they too started to fade as the night went on. Luo Yuan did not know how many guard rank green beetles were lingering in the sky as he could only see a small part of the sky above him.

"Are those the same green beetles we saw earlier?" Huang Jiahui asked.

Luo Yuan sighed and nodded his head.

"Then the army…," Huang Jiahui drifted off.

Luo Yuan did not wait for her to finish her question before he said, "We will know in the next two days. You go and prepare dinner."

Huang Jiahui nodded and pulled Wang Shishi into the kitchen.

Luo Yuan was standing in front of the balcony, watching the guard rank green beetles. Even though he had killed a guard rank green beetle on the ground before, he had never imagined it could fly at such a high speed. If it flew just slightly faster, it would probably break the sound barrier. A regular weapon would have a hard time injuring this creature, which was very powerful in its attack. Luo Yuan was sure the army would experience a big loss from the current battle. Luo Yuan recalled that the system had identified the bugs as regular green beetles and guard rank green beetles. However, he did not know whether there was any higher level than that. What if…

Luo Yuan quickly stopped himself from thinking too much. He felt horrified when he allowed himself to entertain the possibility of the army getting defeated.

The next morning, Luo Yuan was awakened by the sound of a supersonic aircraft. He quickly got up from bed and put on his snakeskin bulletproof jacket. He could hear Huang Jiahui already shouting while he was about to open the door.

"Luo Yuan! Luo Yuan! Wake up! Hurry up! They’re fighting again!"

Luo Yuan opened the door and saw Huang Jiahui and Wang Shishi standing in the hallway anxiously. They both looked exhausted and had dark circles under their eyes. Apparently, they had not slept well the previous night.

Luo Yuan walked to the balcony and saw a group of fighting jets that happened to be flying by the building. He guessed there were about a hundred fighting jets in the sky. Seconds later, an air-defense alarm was heard.

"Let’s go to the ground floor," Luo Yuan said as he turned around.

He believed that the army was going to try and blast the green beetles. Huang Jia Hui nodded her head and lifted Wang Shishi into her arms.

"Wait, let me grab some food first." Luo Yuan could recall their experiences the previous day and thought today might be even worse. He went into the storeroom and took out some mantou that he had bought a while ago. He opened it and smelled it to confirm that it was safe to eat. Then he took the food and all of them walked quickly down to the ground floor.

There were currently only a few people gathered there. However, many residents ran down the staircase in less than a minute’s time. Luo Yuan looked at the cracks on the walls and frowned. This building had been built to compensate the residents for the previous older building. That meant that the construction costs had been low and the quality had been relatively low as well. He was not sure that the building could survive a war, but his thought process was interrupted by the sound of bombs. Once the war had begun, the army was sure to try to do its best.

Everyone could see the scene playing out through the gaps of the grill. There were clouds of fire in the sky, and many bombs and bullets being delivered on the battlefield. They saw shockwaves hit several tall buildings and leave holes on their walls. One minute later, the building began to shake vigorously as the barrage got closer, and a missile exploded nearby. Suddenly, the building collapsed. If someone was standing outside and looking at it from a distance, it would certainly be a jaw-dropping scene. However, everyone inside it was too shocked and stunned to do anything. Not that anyone would know what to do.

Extreme fear and hopelessness were followed by numbness. The barrage was getting closer and closer and the vibration of their eardrums was getting stronger. The explosions seemed like non-stop thunderstorms. Luo Yuan immediately sensed the danger. He knew it would not be a smart move to continue to stay there. There were so many explosions happening around them that even if the missiles exploded in the sky and did not hit anyone, they would still cause lots of damage to the buildings. He looked at the cracks on the ceiling and the falling dust, and made the decision to leave.

"This place is not safe anymore. Follow me!" Luo Yuan pulled Huang Jiahui along.

"Where are we going?" she asked.

"To the district underground parking area. It’s very close. You carry Wang Shishi. Hurry up, or it will be too late!" Luo Yuan said.

"Uncle, I want to walk by myself. I don’t want to slow Auntie down." Wang Shishi raised her chin and looked at Luo Yuan.

He looked back at this young girl, who should have been enjoying freedom in school, but had been forced to face the ugly side of life instead. He nodded his head. "Alright. Jiahui, you take care of her."

"Are you heading to the parking area?" a middle-aged man asked.

"I think this building is going to collapse soon. Let’s all go together if you want to leave too," Luo Yuan said. Everyone suddenly looked at him.

Other than the middle-aged man, everyone else seemed anxious and hesitant about whether they should leave the building or not. Apparently, while they knew it was not safe to stay in the building, they were also afraid to bump into the green beetles on the way to the underground parking area.

Luo Yuan looked at the crowd and asked, “We’re leaving soon. Is anyone else coming with us?”

Most of them chose to stay instead of risk their lives and face that challenge. In the end, only three guys and one woman followed Luo Yuan. One of them was the guy with the black-framed spectacles from yesterday. The rifle that Huang Jiahui was holding was actually quite helpful to them as it gave them the confidence to leave. Luo Yuan opened the grill and the seven of them walked out of the building. The crowd immediately closed it again. Luo Yuan turned around and looked at the complicated expressions on their faces before he took a deep breath and ran away.

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